Food Therapy is the art and science of using selected food ingredients to feed each individual based upon their age, species, current physiological state or disease process using the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Different kinds of food can be used to treat various symptoms.
Before designing a specific therapeutic diet a detailed history is taken to determine each pet’s constitution and the nature of their symptoms in order to determine the main pattern(s) that help define the disease process. For example, a dog that is panting frequently, constantly seeking cool places and is prone to recurrent ear and urinary tract infection may be diagnosed, according to Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, as manifesting excess “Damp Heat”.
Each specific food ingredient has flavours and energies that are selected according to the pet’s physiological needs. In the case just mentioned specific ingredients can be chosen that will help to “Clear the Heat”, as well as “Drain” the excess “Damp”. Turkey, duck and white fish are considered “Cool” while chicken and venison are considered “Hot”. Likewise barley and brown rice are “Cool” while white rice and sweet potato are “Warm”. Therefore for the dog mentioned above a diet made of turkey and brown rice would be preferable to one containing chicken and white rice. Since both barley and kidney beans can be used to “Drain Damp” we may choose to design a diet for this dog that utilizes turkey, barley and kidney beans. The proper diet for each patient is based on all of these factors and not just the disease alone.
At Guelph Animal Hospital, once the ingredients have been carefully chosen, a sophisticated computer program is utilized to balance each individual nutrient, vitamin and mineral to be certain the diet provides 100% balanced nutrition to the pet. A complete balanced recipe can then be presented to the client that will include any additional supplements that need to be added. Clear instructions are provided on how to prepare their pet’s food at home. If home cooking is not an option then commercial dog foods can be chosen that contain ingredients most suitable for each pet’s condition based on similar principles.